Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold says his side is close to cementing itself in Hyundai A-League folklore after the Sky Blues were awarded their second consecutive Premier’s Plate following last night’s 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory.
Golden boot winner Bobo poked home Michael Zullo’s cross for his 27th goal of the campaign to ensure the Premiers defeated the visitors in gritty fashion and extend their superb recent Big Blue record.
Arnold’s record-breaking outfit has lost just four times over the past two Hyundai A-League seasons while their seventh straight Big Blue win over Kevin Muscat’s Victory puts the Sky Blues within touching distance of their fifth trophy in two years.
After finishing runners up to Victory in his debut season at the Harbour City four years ago, the tide has well and truly shifted for Arnold who has established a dominance of the Hyundai A-League that has never been rivalled before.
And according to the Sydney custodian, his side’s supremacy should be lauded not only as a landmark achievement in recent Australian footballing history but in sport across the country.
“Everyone said at the start of the year that we couldn’t have a season like we did last year,” said Arnold.
“But you look at the stats and no one’s gone back to back in 24 years – a life time in half of my players in the squad, and you look across the codes and that stat is very similar.”
Prior to Arnold’s appointment as Sydney boss in May 2014 the Sky Blues had not tasted silverware since their 2009/10 Premiership victory.
But while Sydney will enter the 2017/18 Finals Series as red-hot favourites, the future Caltex Socceroos manager isn’t getting carried away.
“I wasn’t overly happy with our performance tonight, it was a scrappy performance,” he said.
“But we’ll work hard at training to tighten up the discipline and we look forward to round 28.”
Sydney will enjoy the first week of the Finals Series off but must first cast their gaze toward a crunch AFC Champions League encounter with Shanghai Shenhua on Tuesday evening at Allianz Stadium.
The Sky Blues need to beat the Chinese heavyweights and hope second-placed Suwon Bluewings do not register a victory over Group H frontrunners Kashima Antlers in order to progress to the Round of 16.